Campaign podcast: Publicis/Havas merger rumours and media agencies under spotlight

Podcast (clockwise from top-right): Moorhead, Biggam, and B&Q's 'We will grow again' spot
Podcast (clockwise from top-right): Moorhead, Biggam, and B&Q's 'We will grow again' spot

The7stars' Jenny Biggam and The Aperto Partnership's Scott Moorhead discuss whether the role of media agencies is at a crossroads.

On this week's episode, Omar Oakes and Maisie McCabe imagine what a rumoured Publicis Groupe merger with Havas could look like, whether WPP CEO Mark Read is right that not enough attention is paid to the creative used in targeted online advertising, and B&Q's new "we will grow again" spot.

Jenny Biggam, founder of independent media agency the7stars, and Scott Moorhead, founder of The Aperto Partnership consultancy, discuss how media agencies may have "two competing business models" that can cause conflicts of interests. 

Biggam explains: "There’s one business model, which is the shop window, which is charging clients for strategic advice data and tech and consultancy... the other is making money based on where you’re spending your client’s money."

This is bad for advertisers, because, as Biggam adds: "If [media] planners are recommending one solution that generates cash to their agency’s bottom line and another solution that doesn’t, or another solution that might include inventory that has already bought at that agency’s risk, you can guess which solution the planner is going to be incentivised to push."

Moorhead, who penned a piece for Campaign in January about media agency transparency alongside business partner Andrew Mortimer, warned that the UK media industry has "moved backwards" on reselling media, five years after a US investigation about reselling focused attention on the issue.

"Arbitrage and the reselling of media has always existed, whether you look to the world of out-of-home where most agencies learned how to do it, through to the early days of programmatic trading desks, through to today where it’s the video resellers in linear television and in pretty much every sector," Moorhead says.

"When we say ‘industrialised’, we really do mean that because there are significant numbers of people employed in [agency] groups that only exist to work with these products and position them to their clients as the more effective option." 

Listen in the player below or hit 'subscribe' to get the podcast on Apple, Spotify and other players:

Episode notes (links to stories on
1:00 Could Publicis really merge with Havas?
4:45 Is Mark Read sending a message to WPP agencies about creativity?
11:00 B&Q "We will grow again" by Uncommon Creative Studio
16:00 Jenny Biggam and Scott Moorhead interview

This episode was hosted by Campaign's media and technology editor Omar Oakes with UK editor Maisie McCabe and edited by Lindsay Riley. 


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